RE: Archaisms in Malayalam There is an interesting article …
Comment posted General Discussion by John Mathew.
RE: Archaisms in Malayalam
There is an interesting article (below). It mentions some archaic terms that the Jews of Malabar use, and it makes the claim that these come from an early era of the development of Malayalam. I was wondering whether:
1. we have similar terms (see below) in our language? E.g., do the Black Jew terms for God also exist in our vocabulary?
2. we have similar fossils from the more Tamil era of Malayalam?
The section that interests me is:
One of the most notable features of Jewish Malayalam is the presence of fossilized elements from the pre-Malayalam layer. These archaisms exist at several levels, including lexicon, morphology, phonology, and semantics. A semantic example can be found in one of the wedding songs: the bride is described as covering her head with three types of flowers that have NaRRam. The word NaRRam exists in contemporary Tamil, Malayalam, and other local languages with the meaning ‘bad smell’. However, in this case the word is used with its old Tamil sense: ‘good smell’. This is just one example of the many elements of Jewish Malayalam that may seem like contemporary Tamil borrowings but are actually archaic remnants from before Malayalam split off from Tamil.
Another significant feature is the abundance of archaic Dravidian derivatives to denote Jewish concepts. The best examples are names for God, many of which are loan translations from Hebrew. Jews, Muslims, and Christians share the most popular form Thampuran ‘Lord’. Jews and Muslims share Padachavan ‘creator’. But Mulamudayon ‘the one at the beginning’, Oruvanayavan ‘the only one’, Sadakan ‘the doer’, Adimulamvayavan ‘the one who is the root cause’, and Adiperiyon ‘the great beginner’ are words for God used only by Jews. The typical Jewish concept of redemption is expressed by a special word coined from a Dravidian root “mil,” according to well-accepted morphological rules: Milcha ‘redemption’ and Mirchakaran ‘redeemer’ are frequently found in JMFS but are non-existent in general Malayalam. JMFS are full of variants of these two Malayalam words, sometimes altered beyond recognition.
Because of the frequency of archaisms, an ordinary Malayalam speaker would be bewildered by the opaqueness of JMFS. Even the women who still sing these songs today may not understand some of the words they use. But the linguistic archaisms – as well as biblical allusions – contribute to the speakers’ sense of ethno-religious distinctiveness.”
Related NSC Network Articles
- ‘The Syrian Christians of Kerala, Demographic and Socio-Economic Transition In The Twentieth Century’ by K. C. Zachariah
- ‘The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India’- Volume I -Prof. George Menachery
- ‘Glimpses of Nazraney Heritage’ by Prof George Menachery
- “Christianity in India- a History in ecumenical perspective” by HC Perumalil and ER Hambye
- Arrival of Thomas of Cana ( Bishop Thomas of Cana ?), History and references about Southist Community (Thekkumbhagar – Knanaya )
- ‘The Thomas Christians’ by Placid Podipara
- ‘The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India’- Volume II , Chief Editor Prof.George Menachery
Get NEW Articles by e-mail / Enter your e-mail
Nasrani Syrian Christians NETWORK Snapshot
- Nazrani History and Discourse on Early Nationalism in Varthamanapusthakam
- PESAHA CELEBRATION OF NASRANIS: A SOCIO-CULTURAL ANALYSIS
- Saint Thomas Christians in the Shaping of Modern Kerala
- Ikkako Kathanar -the forgotten martyr
- MS Vatican Syriac 22 & MS Vatican Syriac 17: Syriac Manuscripts copied in South India
- Patriarchate Of India- An Appraisal Of The Evolution Of The Episcopal Hierarchy Among Thomas Christians Of Malabar